Our wedding was nearly a year ago, on 2/29/2020. I typed this little list up shortly after that and never did anything with it. Looking back at all the little things I stressed about, a lot of it really doesn’t matter. The day is about the wedding, and celebrating love and commitment with your family and friends. But here’s my list anyways:
Our Wedding: Do’s and Don’ts
I just recently got married almost three weeks ago, and with the great precautions being taken for the coronavirus now I am so glad we had our wedding when we did! Largely thanks to our wonderful family and friends, our wedding was a dream. We had a fantastic time and the night flew by SO quickly.
Neither of us or our parents had much experience in planning weddings, so this was a new and stressful experience for us. The wedding itself turned out phenomenal but we learned a few things along the way.
- Pick a venue before making a guest list: I would say that by far one of the biggest stressors was finding a venue, followed by developing a guest iist. Where we possibly went wrong was picking a venue before making a guest list. Our estimated number of guests was way lower than the actual number that our families wanted to invite, so we had to be very strict on who made the cut to make sure everyone fit into our venue. Looking back, it would have made more sense to form our guest list first, and then choose a venue. In the end our guest count worked out fine, but there were several people we would have invited had we had more space.
- Wait till the last minute to order florals: We were never planning on hiring a florist, but we did wait a little too late to contact HEB and Sam’s Club about flowers. My mom contacted them about 3-4 weeks ahead of the wedding, and (especially since it was a February wedding) things felt just a little too rushed.
- Send out Save The Dates: For us, our wedding was less than nine months after we got engaged. I don’t think spending the time and money on addressing and mailing save the dates was too worth it. For out of town people, it would’ve been easier to just send out a heads up email, or tell them in person/via text. I can see if you’re having a wedding a year or more in the future maybe sending out save the date cards, but for our short timeframe they were unnecessary money spent.
- Plan on using DryBar on your wedding day: I did not book a hair artist, partially because I didn’t want a super elaborate hair-do and also because they were all outrageously expensive. And I had already booked a makeup artist who just did makeup, and most of the hair people did both hair and makeup. I tested out Dry Bar for my bridal shots and was mostly pleased with the simple curls and braids they gave me. My only complaint was that the hair style fell pretty quick. So when my bridesmaids and I went in on the morning of the wedding day, I requested that they do the same hairstyle but a little fuller/bigger curls if possible. An hour and fifteen minutes into my appointment, the stylist gave up on curling my long, thick hair and said we were out of time. The hairstyle wasn’t even finished. Thankfully, I have angels for best friends and they re-did my entire head of hair. So in short, I would recommend either hiring a professional wedding hair lady or just doing it yourself to begin with.
- Wearing lots of makeup if you normally don’t: So I’m still waiting for the pictures from the photographer to come back, but I felt like I had WAY too much makeup on. My bridesmaids looked beautiful, but the artist went heavier on me and I felt uncomfortable with how I looked and I ended up wiping off 75% of my face after the ceremony. I’m hoping it turned out alright in the pictures, but I just felt not like myself.
- Have a “smaller” wedding party: I had five bridesmaids plus my two brothers on my side at the ceremony and my husband had five (would have been six if one hadn’t been deployed). While this is still a good sized wedding party, it is nothing compared to having ten or twelve people up on each side of the altar. I found the smaller group allowed for more time with each person the day of the wedding and it just felt more personal. I am not a huge “big group of girls” person anyways though, so this opinion is just my own. I had a fantastic time though with my five girls.
- A low key bachelorette weekend: Bachelor and bachelorette parties have turned into full-out vacation weekends, flying out of state to Vegas or Nashville. For mine, I met my brothers and three of my bridesmaids in Austin, Texas. It was a four hour drive for me and two of the girls, everyone else lived there or drove less. We had brunch, spent the day outside, and went out to the bars one night. These parties shouldn’t be about the destination or the activities planned, but about spending good time with good friends.
- Borrow/make wedding decorations: We borrowed a large percentage of our wedding decorations from friends who had recently had weddings. This saved us a lot of money. Since our wedding was at a vineyard, we had the vineyard save us some empty wine bottles and corks. We wrapped the bottles in twine and used them as baby’s breath vases, and we used glued-together corks as picture holders. We also bought fake greenery 50% off from Hobby Lobby to decorate the ceremony arch. Sam’s club provided plenty of eucalyptus strands for tables and all together it looked beautiful. My mom did a phenomenal job thinking up everything.
- Shop through the clearance section online for dresses: I purchased my wedding dress for $98 from BHLDN. It fit near perfectly, and even with tailoring costs it still cost way less than the average wedding dress.
- Use DSW or other shoe department stores for wedding shoes: I purchased my wedding shoes for less than $60 at DSW using coupons. Unless you buy a pair of practical shoes you’ll wear again, chances are you won’t wear your wedding shoes too often. Don’t break the bank on them. I wore tennis shoes under my dress for dancing at the reception anyways.
- Have one color and multiple styles for bridesmaid dresses: Every girl’s body is different, and what looks good on one girl might not look on another. To me, if you’re already asking your friends to spend a bunch of money on a bridesmaid dress, at least let them pick out one that suits their figure.
- Breakfast and lunch for the bridal party: My bridal party and I were at the venue getting ready from 8am to 5pm when the ceremony started. Having a family friend bring us breakfast and lunch was a lifesaver.
- Taking as many pictures as possible before the ceremony: We took all of our bridal party shots, family shots, and groomsmen shots before the ceremony. We also ended up doing a first look before the ceremony too to allow for some portraits of just us as well. This made the after-ceremony time a whole lot less stressful.
- Using a Sweetheart Table: Instead of a huge wedding party table, we had our bridesmaids/groomsmen sit at tables near us while we sat at our own sweetheart table. It really allowed us to take in the moment, see everyone there celebrating with us, and just be a little more private. Also, we were up walking around talking to people very shortly after entering so we didn’t spend much time sitting anyways.
- Not doing a traditional big wedding cake: We had mini pies, mini cupcakes, and a small lemon-blueberry cake from a bakery we liked. People raved about the mini pies. I’m not sure how much cheaper this was than a big wedding cake + a sheet cake, but it tasted a whole let better and the leftovers saved well!
- Designating two people to pack away food for you after the reception: While on the subject of food, we had our maid of honor and best man pack away food and dessert for us in our getaway vehicle. This was GREAT because we were both so hungry and had hardly been able to actually eat at the reception! Also, designate people to make sure your phone and wallet are in the getaway car as well. It makes flying early the next morning easier if you have a wallet with you.
- Be specific with the DJ: Our DJ sent us ceremony and reception format PDFs for us to fill out about eight weeks before our wedding . These templates included very specific requests such as a list of “20 Must Play Songs” and what you wanted your last song to be to, what songs all the wedding party entered in to, etc. I wish we had discussed with our DJ specifically that we wanted all of our top 20 must play songs actually played. The DJ would play one of our requested songs and then play three other songs that he thought the crowd would like. He didn’t do a bad job, but looking back we did wish we had heard more of the requested songs.
All in all, our wedding day and night was amazing. It was such a dream and we would relive it exactly as it was. We are so thankful to my parents for spending to much time and effort to organize and arrange it, to Preston’s parents for arranging a fun rehearsal dinner, and to all of our friends and family who came out to celebrate us.